Reporting Live From a ‘Food Desert’

Michael Carlos and Joshua on the street copy

“At 6 a.m., I gotta get my kids up, grab my things. Sometimes I grab a sandwich, sometimes I grab nothing.” This is the voice of a mother and resident of Far Rockaway, New York, as recorded by her 18-year-old son Joshua Miranda. He produced a radio segment about her efforts to eat and cook… Read More

The Color of Food: These Sisters are Building a Second Career as Farmers

Main Portrait Option 2

This is the second in a series of four excerpts from The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming. Read more about the book and the author, Natasha Bowens. Read the first post here.

I head toward the lowlands of the North Carolina coast to meet with two sisters in their sixties who are trying to revitalize their family land by growing food organically. This area where they grow has changed over the decades and now faces the challenges of land degradation, climate change, and heir property laws. This pair of women teaches us that ferocity knows no limitations; sometimes all you need is a sister by your side. Read More

All The News That’s Fit to Eat: The Bird Flu is Back

shutterstock_118043836

Bird flu is so 2009, right? That was the year the H1N1 virus made headlines around the world when the first case was found in the United States, prompting fears of a global pandemic and lots of face mask-wearing on public transportation. Since then it’s been quietly mutating and killing humans and poultry around the world.

Now there’s a new strain in the U.S. that has infected millions of chickens, turkeys, and other birds. Fortunately, there have been no cases of human infection, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that it’s “cautiously optimistic” there won’t be.

Read More

Just Because Your Chicken Is Organic Doesn’t Mean It Was Raised Humanely

AFNR / Shutterstock.com

Do you ever wonder why so much organic food also carries animal welfare labels?

The short answer is that while the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) organic standards are very precise about pesticides and other growing practices for the crops people and animals eat, it doesn’t include very many specific instructions about the way the animals themselves are raised. Read More

Gastropod: Why Does Grape Candy Taste So Fake? [Audio]

Lifesavers

Throughout human history, if you wanted to make a dish taste like strawberry, you had no choice but to add a strawberry. But in the 19th century, scientists began to understand how to synthesize flavor chemicals, whether from plants or from byproducts of coal processing, to evoke familiar flavors. While the technology to evaluate the flavor molecules of a particular food have become increasingly sophisticated in the past century, the basic concept of synthetic flavor has remained unchanged. Until now. In this episode of Gastropod, molecular biologists explain how they’re designing yeasts to ferment the tastes of the future. Read More

Earn a Good Living Without a Tractor: A Market Gardener Tells You How

Alex Chabot

According to Jean-Martin Fortier, it isn’t a farmer’s job to feed the world. And he finds it absurd that many U.S.-based food and agriculture companies tell farmers they should do so. “Feeding the world? People in Africa don’t need the U.S. to feed them.” What we need, the Canadian farmer argues, is small farms feeding their communities, and that task is difficult enough. Read More